Parties cited for potential financial errors

By Rochelle McConkie

Elections Registrar Dave Martini filed a number of grievances against both parties running in the ASUU election late last night. The Focus Party will be tried in a hearing tonight because some receipts from its purchases did not claim sales tax by using the U’s tax exemption number, which is a violation of election rules.

According to Associated Students of the University of Utah election rules, parties are not recognized as part of the university and are therefore not exempt from taxes.

Focus presidential candidate Patrick Reimherr said his party never gave out the U’s tax exemption numbers to companies and that the grievance is a result of “large misunderstandings.”

“We don’t know the U’s tax exemption number,” Reimherr said.Of the three cases in which sales tax is being questioned, two of them have to do with orders through online businesses that do not charge sales tax because of interstate commerce laws, he said.

The third case involves two orders of fliers placed with a company called AlphaGraphics. Reimherr said that the party’s campaign manager, Kariann Hibbard, went to AlphaGraphics and an employee asked her if she “had an account.” Hibbard answered yes, which Reimherr said referred to the party’s debit account, but the employee may have assumed she meant an account with AlphaGraphics. Reimherr said the employee charged sales tax for only one of the orders.

“We never gave them an account number. We didn’t give them a card,” Reimherr said. “They chose not to charge us sales tax for some reason.”

Reimherr said he did not know why the employee thought they were tax exempt, unless the U has an account with AlphaGraphics.

Grievances were also filed against the Focus Party for not fixing previous grievances, over-budgeting on contributions and not claiming items such as party supplies or tabling supplies in their financial disclosures.

The Spork Party will be tried for failing to pay a fine on time, problems with allocations of funds and two General Assembly candidates going over their allotted budgets.

Spork presidential candidate Graham Anderson said these are the only financial grievances that have been filed against his party and he thinks they will have “extremely minimal effects” on election outcomes.

Anderson said the Assembly candidates went $3 over their $75 limit because of orientation fines. The allocation grievance was filed because Spork included platform information on their fliers, which Martini said counts as a party name and puts them in another category for financial disclosures. Anderson said he thinks this is incorrect because it is not specified in RedBook, the student constitution. The late fee grievance was filed because Anderson said his party mixed up the days the fines were due.

Martini said he wanted voters to be aware of the grievances, but he did not want to provide in-depth information about them so each party could have a fair trial at the grievance hearing.

“I don’t want to sway the votes,” Martini said.

The Elections Committee will determine consequences for each grievance, should the parties be found guilty.

Voting closes tonight at 10 p.m. and election results are scheduled to be announced Friday at 10 a.m.

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